New Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer kicked off her term with an elaborate oath of office ceremony Friday, attended by hundreds of the county’s top officials and law enforcement agents.
The entrance to the Kern County Administrative Center was decorated with sheer white canopies, draped throughout the rotunda, and gilded chairs. Two overflow rooms were made available to accommodate the crowd, and attendees included a laundry-list of the county’s top politicians and their allies both past and present, including former District Attorney Ed Jagels and Republican political powerhouse Cathy Abernathy.
The ceremony, presided over by Jagels, kicked off with a ten-minute slideshow that displayed photos of Zimmer posing next to people who helped her throughout her career. The “Game of Thrones” theme song and “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses played in the background.
“Winter has come,” Zimmer said at one point, quoting the popular HBO series "Game of Thrones" in referring to the county’s high crime rate and the atmosphere in Sacramento, which she characterized as being out of touch with the realities of criminal justice. “But winter is our season.”
She promised to work with law enforcement to help bring down the crime rate as well as the amount of unsolved homicides on the books in law enforcement offices.
Zimmer personally paid for the event, Abernathy said, which also included a reception with desserts and a small buffet.
The ceremony ended with the crowd being asked to participate in a rendition of “God Bless America” accompanied by a trumpet. Near the end of the song, some in the crowd became noticeably emotional.
Former State Sen. Jean Fuller administered the oath of office to Zimmer, and many law enforcement officials lavished praise on the new top lawyer for the county.
Former Kern County Sheriff Carl Sparks spoke during the event.
“She loves nothing more than to send bad guys to prison,” he said of Zimmer, before noting he thought she would do a great job in her new role.
"I’m thrilled. I think she’ll do a tremendous job," Abernathy said. "It’s an important job right now especially between gangs and street crime and all the things Kern and other counties are faced with because the Legislature keeps letting bad people out of prison, and reducing sentences and the job is being put on the locals to try to control all of it."
This was the second oath of office ceremony Zimmer had taken part in, according to Deputy District Attorney Joseph Kinzel.
Kinzel said Zimmer had taken the oath of office in a small ceremony at her parent’s house on Thanksgiving Day.
During Friday’s event, Zimmer’s 98-year-old mother sat with her siblings in the front row.
“I am humbled and honored that the voters of Kern County have placed their trust in me,” Zimmer said. “I give God the glory.”
Megan Person, a spokeswoman for county government, confirmed county taxpayers are not paying for the event.